Facing another long, cold winter, the owners of Vita Urbana in Battery Park’s Shoreway Building have decided to pull the plug. The all-day gourmet market and café, operated by owner Mike Graley and chef-partner Scott Popovic, had been open for a year and a half. This shuttering follows other nearby closures at Graffiti Social Kitchen and CHA Pizza Kitchen (3800 Whitman Ave., 216-631-9242), which reopens this week in Ohio City.
“You would think that this is a really great spot because of all the growth taking place in the area,” says Popovic. “Unfortunately, it hasn’t been. A lot of people don’t even know this neighborhood exists because it is hidden and wasn’t developed for so long. It was really hard to bring people in.”
Given the number or nearby residents, the concept (and crew) seemed solid. In the morning, Vita Urbana functioned as the neighborhood’s coffee shop, offering up fresh-brewed coffee beverages, grab-and-go pastries, and made-to-order hot foods like sausage, egg and cheese empanadas. Breakfast was followed by an all-day menu of chef-driven small and medium plates.
All day, the well-stocked retail section offered beer, wine, gourmet cheeses, charcuterie, pasta, olive oil, condiments and a few basic necessities to neighborhood residents.
Popovic, a Johnson and Wales grad and well-seasoned chef, had little trouble lining up a new position. As executive chef of Architectural Justice (13593 Pearl Rd., 440-268-8646, architecturaljustice.com) in Strongsville, Popovic will be preparing all food served in the café as well as hosting regular consumer cooking classes.
“They have a really cool area for cooking classes that’s very interactive,” he notes.